Information you need to know to practice as a Lawyer

Who is the licensing body responsible for Lawyers in Alberta?

In Alberta, you must be registered with the Law Society of Alberta to practice law or call yourself a Lawyer.

What are the licensure requirements for internationally trained Lawyers?

Internationally trained Lawyers must

  1. Apply to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) for assessment of legal credentials and experience.
  2. Pass any required examinations in Canadian law and/or complete required course work. For more information on exam resources, visit the Federation of Law Societies of Canada website.
  3. Once the Certificate of Qualification has been received, apply to the Law Society of Alberta for registration as a Student-at-Law. NOTE: In addition to the applicant's academic qualifications, the Law Society will also assess the applicant's character and reputation.
  4. Upon being admitted as a Student-at-Law, article for a minimum of 12 months under the supervision of an experienced Alberta lawyer. NOTE: The articling term must be served under an active member of the Law Society who has been engaged in the practice of law within Alberta for not less than 4 years immediately preceding the date on which the articles commence. The proposed principal must be approved by the Law Society for both eligibility and suitability to act as a principal.
  5. While articling, complete and pass the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) bar admission course. This is the bar admission course that all students must complete.
  6. Upon conclusion of the articling term and successful completion of the CPLED program, apply for enrolment as a member of the Law Society of Alberta.

What are the educational requirements for Lawyers in Alberta?

Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards.

To practice law in Alberta, lawyers must have completed a bachelor’s degree, a law degree, an articling term, and the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education program. 

  1. Two to four years in an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree program.

    NOTE: The minimum academic requirement is completion of at least two years of a program leading to a bachelor's degree or equivalent, but admission after two or three years of undergraduate study is very unusual. A bachelor's degree is generally required to gain admission.

    NOTE: Students seeking admission to law school must write the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), an aptitude test administered four times a year at a number of Canadian campuses.

  2. A three-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from an accredited law school according to the common law system.
  3. A twelve-month articling term as a student-at-law. After prospective lawyers graduate from an LLB or combined degree program, they must work for one full year as a student-at-law. This is a form of apprenticeship in which the student enters into an agreement (articles of clerkship) with a practitioner of the Alberta Bar to provide the graduate with practical training in both barristers and solicitors work.
  4. While articling, successfully complete the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) program which is offered once a year and covers many practical aspects of the law.

In Alberta, the following institutions offer training in law:

The University of Alberta 

The University of Calgary

What training programs are available for internationally trained Lawyers?

University of Calgary

University of Alberta

University of British Columbia 

University of Toronto

York University

What are the accepted language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

All applicants to the NCA must demonstrate proficiency in communicating in at least one of the Canada's official languages. 

(a) For English, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with a minimum score of 7.0 across all of the following elements: writing, speaking, reading and listening.
(b) For French, TESTCan with a minimum score of 4.5 across all of the following elements: writing, speaking, reading and listening.

What resources and supports are available for internationally educated professionals?

Directions for Immigrants currently offers exam preparation study groups for internationally trained lawyers who are planning to become licensed to practice in Canada:

Canadian Criminal Law
Canadian Professional Responsibility
Canadian Administrative Law
Canadian Constitutional Law
Foundations of Canadian Law

Directions for Immigrants also offers workplace communication groups to help you integrate into the Canadian work environment. Clear Communication for Business is designed to help internationally educated professional fine-tune their communication skills with colleagues, supervisors, and clients. In one week, you will learn through role-play and scenarios the nuances and expectations of the Canadian business culture. Topics include active listening, assertiveness, conflict resolution, problem solving, and teamwork.

What information resources are available for Lawyers in Alberta?

Additional Occupational Information

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